When developing the instruction with audio-only, I had broken the instruction into five larger chunks of information. Each section was very detailed, as I assumed the instruction was the only information the learner had. When developing for visuals plus audio, more information was available to the learner, so I did not need to make the audio as detailed. Also, the visuals were broken into even smaller segments, requiring the audio to be broken down further to match.
In some ways, the use of all three media is more efficient in that learners have a choice of media, and no one instructional medium needs to provide the complete details. In other ways, combining all three required more thought, more planning, and more effort, and in that way it was actually much less efficient.
After completing these exercises I am much more aware about the methods I select for instructing someone. In the past I had just created instructions which either consisted of text and visuals or video, but had not considered why I selected the media I chose or what impact that media had on my learners. After this course, I will consider which media will be most effective in delivering the instruction based on the needs of my learners and how they will likely use the instruction, and may offer multiple single medium alternatives such as audio-only as well as combined media for the most effective instruction to meet each learner’s needs.
Limitations of media include development time, costs to produce, delivery mechanisms, needs and abilities of the learners, and anticipated use. For example, while the one-page design of the interactive PDFs is a clean, easy to use idea, interactive PDFs do not display in-browser on the web. They would have to be downloaded for the user to benefit from their design. A learner stumbling on the interactive PDF instructions online would not necessarily know they were missing interactive design elements when the document opened in their browser.
However, if you have the time and resources to develop multimedia instruction, and develop well-planned media that works on the learners’ platform, meets their needs, and will work the way they ordinarily use it, the result can have long-lasting effects. Media can increase learner attention and engagement. It can help reduce cognitive load, allowing more of the instruction to be retained in memory. It can utilize both attention channels effectively, allowing the material to be processed in the brain in multiple ways.